Taking the Reins

Since 1998 Taking the Reins has helped under served girls develop teamwork, responsibility and leadership skills through their unique equestrian and urban farm programs. At their 2.5 acre beautiful rural setting in Arcadia, urban girls living just minutes away have the opportunity to escape their concrete environments by caring for horses and other animals, riding in a wide open space, and working together in a farm environment and organic garden. Taking the Reins serves middle and high school girls, ages 11-18, who reside in various high-density, low income areas where domestic violence, gangs and drugs are the norm, compounding the normal challenges of adolescence. They come from Boyle Heights, Pico Union, Rampart, Echo Park, Lincoln Heights, Northeast LA, East Hollywood and Atwater Village. The current gardening program at TTR has a seed-to-skillet approach, which has existed with only 1 hot plate and cold water, limiting their fare to salads and omelets. Our grant for $22,932.00 will take their program to the next level by providing a protected/weatherproof structure, a complete food preparation and cooking area, 4-burner built-in grill, refrigerator, a sink with cold/hot water, and a gathering area which will function as a place to enjoy food, as well as an outdoor classroom for the ongoing curriculum-based nutrition and health program. Visiting chefs and nutritionists will have a workspace to teach healthy cooking techniques. The new kitchen and gathering area will serve approximately 240 girls each year, expanding the current number by 30%. Living in food desert areas, where liquor stores serve as grocery stores, growing, preparing and eating fresh food is a profound and unique experience.